Darrell W. Johnson in his book, The Beatitudes-Living in Sync with the Reign of God, points out that each of the character qualities Jesus calls “blessed” are not natural human qualities. It is as people follow Jesus and grow into his good news of the Kingdom of God that they will grow in the qualities that are characteristic of the kingdom.
I try to imagine what the response might have been for various people on that mountainside when they heard Jesus say,
“Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth” NIV
How about Matthew who had been a tax collector working for the Roman government and likely making a living by overcharging his own countrymen?
Or Simon the Zealot, who was committed to the violent overthrow of the Romans controlling the country?
Peter, Andrew, James and John who, having worked hard as businessmen catching fish for a living, were a pretty rough group of men.
Might some in the crowd who had come from Jerusalem, remembered what the scriptures said about Moses in Numbers 12:3 ASV? “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Or What David wrote in Psalm 37:11 ASV? “But the meek shall inherit the land, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
According to the W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, the word “prautes” *, which was translated as “meek”, really is hard to express in English, because It definitely does not denote weakness, timidity, or lack of courage. To quote: “It must be clearly understood that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power.”
*Note. Look up Strong’s number 4239 and 4240.
It seems to me that the beatitudes are really a preview of the whole sermon on the mount. What Jesus goes on to say in the rest of Matthew 5-7 circles back to what we will become as we grow in Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom of God.
Please continue to join with us in praying and pondering the Lord’s Prayer,
“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”